Palm Sunday bombings: Emergency declared in Egypt

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egypt-church-bombinEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a state of emergency for three months following the attacks by the Islamic State group on two Coptic churches on Palm Sunday on April 9.

After a meeting with the National Defense Council, which includes the Prime Minister and commanders of the Egyptian armed forces, in response to the bombing, President Sisi announced the state of emergency nationwide for three months.

“The attack will only harden the determination (of the Egyptian people) to move forward on their trajectory to realise security, stability and comprehensive development,” he said.

“The media discourse has to be responsible, it’s not acceptable to have the incident aired repeatedly on television stations all day,” he said in a television speech.

During his speech Sisi also added that the war against Jihadists will be “long and painful.”

 According to reports, the suicide bombings killed atleast 45 and injured many. The attacks took place when the churches were full of worshippers observing Palm Sunday.

“I won’t say those who fell are Christian or Muslim, I will say that they’re Egyptian,” Sisi said in a speech.

The first blast which killed 27 people and injured 78 took place in the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, in the Nile delta city of Tanta, about 120 kilometres from Cairo.

The second bombing took place hours after the first one in Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria’s Manshyia district. At least 18 people, including police personnel, were killed while 41 others injured in Alexandria’s suicide attack, Health Minister Ahmed Emad said.

The attacks came a week before Coptic Easter and Pope Francis’ scheduled arrival in the country.